Write what you know, she told them. Write from the heart, she said. Just be sure to write and write and write.
Peering into the darkness of her memory, she sees herself kneeling at a desk, asking a student to read what he just wrote. "That was lovely. I could see it just as you described it. Keep going. That's some good stuff right there." On to another desk, whispering words of encouragement to a child who is stuck. Asking questions, teasing out answers, from the snarl of thoughts dwelling in the large tangle of a child. Moving on to another, asking questions and finding the good parts.
On this day, who will encourage the old teacher's writing? Who will help her find the kernels of wheat, and blow away the chaff? She has only herself. There is no muse, no mentor, no one else to help her tell the stories of her heart. What right does she have to tell her stories anyway? Who would listen? Who would bother to take the time to read her memoirs?
Taking a deep breath, and inviting the calm to be restored with a slow exhalation, she recalls the many days she did that with her students. Tension and chaos would melt away as she reminded them to breathe with her. Order would return so that peace could prevail. The constant brain chatter serves no purpose; it simply stifles creativity, and creates self-doubt.
What does she know? What is in her heart? And then it hits her. All of these years she has said she could never write fiction. She could never juggle the characters, and the plot line, and the constant balance of conflict and resolution. But what if she wrote her own story as if it were fiction? What if she changed her first person point of view to third person point of view? What then?
The edges of this thought are coming into focus, and the cloud is starting to lift. It's all becoming clearer. What she knows is her story, her characters, her plot line, her protagonists and antagonists, and her conflicts. She has had the hard conversations, felt the loneliness, and dared to hope for her happily ever after. If she becomes the heroine of her own story, she knows she would be kinder, and more compassionate, and try to be more understanding of herself.
It seems so simple now. She will assume the identity of herself in a fictionalized account of her life, someone so similar to herself, it will be easy to know the story line, and how to manage the conflict because the story line is her life, and the conflicts are some of the most intimate moments of her life. The thought excites her. The embers of creativity are beginning to glow. Being caught up in the fire of writing the story of her life has been her lifelong dream. It all seems so obvious now,but everything has finally come together, her burning desire moving her toward the goal that has been there all along. A shift of perspective is all that she needed.